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Understanding the Different Types of Alimony

Regardless of which state you live in, there is a type of alimony that could serve or cost you through divorce depending on your circumstances. Florida refers to it as “alimony” while other states refer to it by different names – “maintenance” in New York and spousal support in other places.

At the end of the day, it has the same goal: providing for the spouse who has an untenable financial situation and needs help either through the divorce or beyond. Because there are different levels of need and different circumstances to consider, there are multiple types of alimony you may encounter. Statutes in Florida and New York may have different titles for some of these but the overall intention is much the same.

Temporary or Bridge-the-Gap Alimony

Florida statutes refer to this specifically as “Bridget-the-gap alimony.” Whether it’s called that or temporary maintenance in your state, the idea here is to help a spouse with less money get by during the transition to single life.

These orders are temporary, and the intention is to make sure that if a spouse was reliant on some of the income of the other spouse that they aren’t just thrown out and forced to fend for themselves. In Florida, bridge-the-gap alimony can be ordered for up to two years and cannot be modified. In New York, temporary maintenance generally applies only for the duration of the divorce itself.

Rehabilitative Alimony

Both Florida and New York allow for this type of alimony/maintenance in some form. This type of support is also temporary, but it will generally exceed the length of temporary alimony. The goal here is not only to help the receiving spouse stay afloat through the divorce but also to provide them with the funds necessary to get an education or gain the skills necessary to enter the workforce.

Courts won’t jump for this type of maintenance unless it can be proven that the receiving spouse has gaps in their resumé due to time spent raising the family or taking care of the home. In these cases, it’s viewed that the receiving spouse is owed support in getting the education and skills necessary to overcome that gap in their work history.

Durational Alimony

You will only find durational alimony in Florida law, but it’s relatively straightforward. Durational alimony is awarded in Florida for a specified period of time after the divorce is final – but not for a permanent period.

Judges will allow for this in times when permanent alimony is unnecessary but there’s a need beyond just a small gap in lifestyle or a resumé. These can be altered or terminated depending on a change in circumstances.

Permanent Alimony

Now, for the most unlikely ruling, permanent alimony. Both Florida and New York have a type of this and it’s the one some spouses fear the most. It’s not common, especially among people who aren’t rich, but it provides lifetime support payments to the receiving spouse.

This provides for the “needs and necessities” of life that were provided during the marriage that cannot reasonably be continued after the divorce is final. In many cases, permanent alimony is used for situations where the spouses are older and divorced which means there may not be a reasonable expectation to return to the workforce at any point in time. It’s also common in cases where someone with a larger number of assets marries someone who doesn’t and supported them exclusively.

As with almost all other types of alimony, permanent alimony ends under certain specific conditions. This includes when the receiving spouse remarries, either of the spouses dies, or certain other significant life changes.

Each of these types has a purpose and could be a part of your financial future. Whether you believe you deserve alimony payments or are trying to get your alimony payments down/terminated altogether, it’s important to have the right attorney by your side. At The FAB Law Firm, we handle divorce cases in Florida and New York. We know how each state’s laws work for you and can help you get your case done right. Contact our team today.
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